SCDF issues warning to Jurong-Clementi Town Council for malfunctioning hosereels that were discovered after fire

Jurong-Clementi Town Council (JCTC) has been issued with a warning by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) after firefighters who were attending to a fire at Bukit Batok found that there is no water supply from the fire hose reels at the block.

According to a statement issued to the media, several of the hose reel cabinets had been padlocked. Even after firefighters broke one of the padlocks, they were still unable to use the fire hose reel because there was no water supply, said SCDF.

Three rescued from fire at Bukit Batok flat

SCDF said last Fri that firefighters from Bukit Batok Fire Station and Jurong Fire Station responded to an alert regarding the fire at around 4.31 a.m, and that a Combined Platform Ladder 60m (CPL60) was deployed to conduct an aerial rescue.

“A man in his 60’s and another man in his 30’s were found standing on the ledge outside the kitchen’s window. A vast accumulation of items in the kitchen limited the working space for the firefighters. This, coupled with the two men being highly exhausted, prevented the firefighters from pulling them safely into the unit.

“From within the unit, firefighters used ropes to secure the two men. Thereafter, rescuers from SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) rapelled from the unit above and brought the two men into the CPL60’s rescue cage. The men were brought down to the ground floor and were attended to by SCDF paramedics,” said SCDF.

The men were brought down to the ground floor and were attended to by SCDF paramedics.

The three casualties were conveyed to Singapore General Hospital for burn injuries and smoke inhalation.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

JCTC issued with Fire Hazard Abatement Notices

Following the fire incident, SCDF notified JCTC about the locked up and malfunctioning fire hose reels and performed an inspection with town council representatives.

JCTC was subsequently issued with Fire Hazard Abatement Notices, which serve as warnings to rectify the non-compliance.

In this instance, it would mean ensuring that the hose reels are functioning and are not locked, SCDF said in its statement.

Should non-compliances of the same nature be detected during a reinspection by SCDF, the Town Council could be liable for a composition fine or even prosecution, it added.

“SCDF has since verified through onsite inspections that the fire hose reels at the block are now accessible and in working order.”

SDP chief sounded off malfunctioning hosereel to SCDF

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan had earlier visited the unit last Sun (3 Nov) following the fire incident.

Calling the SCDF rescue via aerial ladder a “dangerous mission” that was “executed expertly”, Dr Chee however pointed out that he was informed that the Fire Hose Reel on the floor was not functioning at the time the fire broke out – despite having been certified for inspection last month – due to an absence of water.

He posted a video of the fire which had the firefighters shouting, “no water, no water”

“I’ve written to the SCDF to see if this is true,” he assured.

Dr Chee also noted that some of the neighbouring units on the 13th floor of Block 210A Bukit Batok Street 21 had “repeatedly complained to the Town Council about the accumulated material inside and outside the flat which presented a fire hazard”.

“A quick walk around the neighbouring units saw another flat presenting the same problem. This is a serious matter,” he observed.

Responding to Dr Chee’s feedback, SCDF said on Tue (5 Nov) that its officers “have done a follow up” with the Jurong Town Council, under which the Bukit Batok is managed.

“Town Councils are responsible for the maintenance of their estate’s fire safety measures and ensuring that they are functioning and well-maintained.

“SCDF officers will be inspecting the premises to ensure the Town Council’s compliance with the fire safety requirement. Enforcement action will be taken in the event of non-compliance,” said SCDF.